SC directs govt to register FIR of Arshad Sharif’s killing by today

111

Islamabad: The Supreme Court of Pakistan has directed the federal government to register a first information report (FIR) of the killing of the famous journalist, Arshad Sharif, by today (Tuesday).

Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial Tuesday took suo motu of the “brutal killing” of the senior journalist in Kenya.

A press release issued by the Supreme Court read: “The journalist community in the country and the public at large are deeply distressed and concerned about the death of the senior journalist and are seeking the court’s scrutiny of the matter.”

CJ Umar Ata Bandial takes suo motu notice of ‘brutal killing’ of journalist Arshad Sharif

Headed by Chief Justice Umar Atta Bandial and comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Jamal Mandokhail, Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, and Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar as its other members, a five-member larger bench of the Supreme Court heard the case today.

Today’s hearing

During the hearing today, Additional Attorney-general (AAG) Aamir Rehman, interior secretary, and other senior officials appeared before the apex court.

CJ Umar Ata Bandial directed authorities to register the FIR by tonight and submit a copy to the court by tomorrow (Wednesday). He also wondered why the court had not yet been provided with the report by the fact-finding committee.

He said that the interior ministry should have submitted the report last Friday, but they did not do so. “Should the interior minister be summoned? Where is the interior minister?” the CJP asked.

The Additional Attorney General informed the court that Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah was in Faisalabad when the report was received. “The report will be handed over to the SC once Sanaullah peruses it,” he said.

At which the CJ asked whether the interior minister had to make changes to the report. He added that the court could summon Sanaullah. It is the government’s job to investigate, not the judiciary’s, he said.

At this, the AAG informed the court that he would present the report of the fact-finding committee by tomorrow (Wednesday).

“Arshad Sharif was a renowned journalist, why was he killed, and why abroad? Pakistan has vast resources to conduct affairs abroad and access to foreign countries,” the CJP remarked.

The killing of Arshad Sharif

Arshad Sharif was shot dead in Nairobi, Kenya, in October, which the Kenyan police described as a case of “mistaken identity”.

Journalist Arshad Sharif shot dead in Kenya; confirms wife

Since the killing of Arshad Sharif, many in Pakistan, including Imran Khan-led PTI, had been urging the Supreme Court to take suo motu notice of the “target killing”. They claimed that Arshad was forced to leave Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates — where he had stayed for a short time before heading to Kenya. The Foreign Office has, however, dismissed these claims.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had also announced that a judicial commission would be formed to probe the matter and subsequently wrote to the CJP about his request.

The slain journalist’s mother had also written to the CJP on November 2, requesting the formation of a high-powered judicial commission to investigate the murder.